In a Friday press conference Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky signaled he’s open to China’s new ceasefire plan which has been subject of widespread reporting after it was introduced Friday morning.
“I believe that the fact that China started talking about Ukraine is not bad, but the question is what follows the words,” Zelensky said, according to The Associated Press.
This despite the 12-point Chinese proposal taking a clear anti-Western position, given it condemned NATO expansion while also calling on the “relevant countries” to “stop abusing unilateral sanctions” and “do their share in de-escalating the Ukraine crisis”.
But Zelensky still went so far as to say he wants to meet with China’s leader Xi Jinping to discuss the proposals, perhaps motivated by a sense that Xi could have significant sway with President Putin, making acceptable ceasefire terms more of a reality.
“I plan to meet Xi Jinping and believe this will be beneficial for our countries and for security in the world,” Zelensky said.
According to the BBC:
Speaking on the first anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion, he said the proposal signaled that China was involved in the search for peace.
“I really want to believe that China will not supply weapons to Russia,” he said.
Despite this unexpected potential diplomatic opening, the White House batted it down, with President Biden telling ABC News on Friday: “[Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s applauding it, so how could it be any good?“
“I’ve seen nothing in the plan that would indicate that there is something that would be beneficial to anyone other than Russia,” he added.
Moscow in the meantime, has repeatedly charged both Washington and the UK with actively plotting to thwart ceasefire negotiations, while NATO countries have said it’s Russia’s ongoing aggression to blame, and that there could be immediate peace if it withdraws all troops.